The New York Times has dug up new info on how deeply involved Facebook was in things getting out of hand in Myanmar. The vast majority of the anti-Rohingya content came from Myanmar military personnel, who were literally placed in offices, working in shifts to create "troll accounts and news and celebrity pages on Facebook and then flooded them with incendiary comments and posts timed for peak viewership". "Officers were also tasked with collecting intelligence on popular accounts and criticizing posts unfavorable to the military". Facebook confirmed this, saying there were "clear and deliberate attempts to covertly spread propaganda that were directly linked to the Myanmar military". They aren't even denying it! If Zuck had a slice of remorse about his role in an ethnic cleansing that's killed 1000 and displaced 90,000, he would be giving money to displaced Rohingya, building them new homes and enlisting a private militia to protect them from further harm. But because he's an amoral arsehole with no conscience, he continues his life like nothing's even happened.
The co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, died this morning, aged 65. He diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009, it went into remission, but returned a few weeks ago. He was an old school nerd, helping Gates create a BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800 that was the start of Microsoft's rise to the massive company it is today. Paul left Microsoft in 1983 after a fight with Bill Gates, but remained on Microsoft's board until 2000. The dude was a massive philanthropist - starting the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Institute for Cell Science and dozens of other smaller science and technology initiatives all over his home town of Seattle. It's seeing people linked to the incredible 70s/80s rise of computing starting to fall off the perch.
Palm's good name has been exhumed by TLC from the grave HP dug for it back in 2014, and is being used to make weirdo smartphones. The Palm phone has a 3.3" screen that's designed to be used as a secondary device to your big proper smartphone. Something about relaxing and disconnecting, but still having a phone on you? Yeah, it's weird. The best way to describe it is a "weekender phone" or a really big smartwatch. The Palm has no SIM slot either, it uses eSIM/2nd number tech. Telcos in AU could sell it as the big 3 have that tech, but who knows if they'll bother. If TLC just made the screen a little bigger (4" or like the iPhone SE), made it run Android One, shoved in a high quality camera and sold it for $499, they'd have my ideal smartphone.
The Verge has an exclusive hands on video of Photoshop on the iPad. Adobe confirmed this a while ago, but nobody's seen it until now. It relies heavily on the Creative Cloud for syncing files and changes back and forth, so I hope you've got a fast internet connection! An Apple Pencil is obviously a must have too. There's a nice "tap with two fingers" gesture to undo, I thought that was cool. One thing a lot of the people in that video mention is a lack of keyboard shortcuts. Not having that makes the overall workflow kinda slow. It'll just be part of Creative Cloud, so if you already pay for that, you'll get the full iPad version included in your subscription some time in 201. There was loads of other Adobe related announcements to come out of their MAX conference today, here's the full press release with links and stuff.
For those blissfully unfamiliar with the startup world, Y Combinator is one of the big fish in this cesspool, with billions of dollars floating around to accelerate the growth of tech companies, turning them into "unicorns". They released the results of a voluntary, anonymous survey undertaken by 88 women who have been part of Y Combinator's program, revealing that over 20% of them experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour from investors. Even sadder is that 17% of the women who responded to the survey said they "experienced sexual coercion or an investor attempting to engage in some kind of quid-pro-quo arrangement". Basically if you want me to invest in your company, have sex with me. Imagine being put in that situation, where the hard work of building your business is degraded to the point where all that matters is shagging some pathetic rich bloke.
The New Yorker has a fantastic story about the whole Google vs. Uber robocar fiasco. My favourite anecdote is Anthony Levandowski getting roasted by his boss Issac Taylor for modding a robocar's software to auto drive on "forbidden routes". To try and show his boss that breaking the created for good reason rules was worth it, Levandowski took Taylor on a test drive. Tragically/hilariously, the robocar got into a huge accident on the freeway, sending another car "pinwheeling" across the mulit-lane road and making Levandowski take such hard evasive action that Taylor "injured his spine so severely that he eventually required multiple surgeries". The lads then left the scene of the accident, not bothering to help the other driver or even reporting the incident to police. Levandowski, instead of being embarrassed by his actions, said it was an excellent source of data.
I don't know why, but WinAmp is coming back in 2019. Radionomy purchased Winamp in 2014 and have been keeping it on life support since, but now they're turning it into a one-stop-shop for listening to music on various streaming services in the one place, online radio, plus your own local music file collection - on both mobile and desktop. There's not much more detail than that right now. Surprisingly, over 100m people use Winamp once a month - which I think says a lot about how awesome Winamp is as a piece of software. It's over 20 years old and still works fine to crack open some tunes. I miss my 80GB HDD full of MP3s that was curated with the precision and care only an anti-social teenager could provide.
That's it, see ya tomorrow!